When we first heard that a CBD infused face mask had been launched, our first reaction was to groan – please no, not another brand jumping on the pandemic bandwagon. That said, in the spirit of fairness, we decided to have a look at what was behind the new Playa London Anti-Viral CBD Face Mask which is billed as a world first.
When we looked into it in more detail, we were pleasantly surprised. First off, whilst it does have a CBD element, it’s just one component of a mask that’s been made harnessing some serious technology to keep the wearer as safe as possible. We’re not scientists, but the mask’s features do sound pretty impressive so to use Playa London’s own description, here’s what they are.
Anti-viral and anti-microbial technology – Textile layers enhanced with an active anti-microbial agent which kill COVID particles on impact. Playa’s website states that this has been clinically tested on SARS-CoV-2 in several independent tests in accordance with norm ISO 18184:2019 and that more information can be supplied on request.
Super thin washable filter layer with >90% particle retention rate – This means that there’s more than a 90% reduction in particles being able to get through the filter layer.
Stress reduction – infused with CBD microparticles that gently rupture after each wash (and lasting >50 washes), reducing skin irritation, acne, stress and anxiety.
Breathability and odour control – a combination of high-grade filters with the most advanced moisture control technology maximises user safety and comfort. Mild eucalyptus scent to reduce breath odour.
Water repellent technology – balances humidity and temperature levels whilst repelling droplets containing viruses and bacteria.
Ergonomically designed – designed for maximum comfort and doesn’t irritate the skin and avoids lipsticks getting smudged.
Longevity – washable and reusable, every mask can last up to 1 year.
So that’s the product features and they’re what made us sit up and take more notice of this particular mask.
The inclusion of the CBD makes sense because who hasn’t suffered from ‘mask face’ – the irritating spots on the chin and cheeks that come from having to wear a mask every time we step out the front door – so if it does reduce skin irritation and acne, we certainly won’t be complaining.
The breathability aspect also appeals because some days it feels more difficult to breathe freely and in our experience, that largely depends on the type of mask we’re wearing, the material and how close it fits the face, but it’s not a nice feeling so anything that helps with that particular problem has got to be a good thing.
Who hasn’t come back home to find their face all hot and sticky from sweating – another thing that seems to come out of nowhere, so bring on the water repellent technology.
Lipstick went out of the window during the first lockdown because there’s nothing worse than coming home with a lipstick-smeared mouth and mask. We know it may sound shallow, but if the ergonomic design means that this is the first mask that makes it possible to actually wear lipstick again, without the fear of smudging, we will quite literally be dancing in the streets.
An eco-friendly brand
When you delve a bit deeper into who Playa London are the reason they’re branching out making Covid masks and the way they’ve produced them becomes clearer.
Whilst their heritage is in producing unisex shirts it’s their ethics that stand out. The shirts are made from organically grown cotton from Turkey, they use zero plastics in their production and packaging and they donate £3 from every sale to Plastic Oceans UK.
They’ve carried the sustainability factor through into the production of the masks too with each one being non-toxic and biodegradable.
The active ingredient is registered and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Biocidal Product Registration (BPR) and other regulatory bodies. It’s also been tested on the skin and doesn’t include any heavy metals.
The mask itself is £30 from Playa London which isn’t cheap but it does come with free P&P and lasts a year. So after reading up on the mask, we were impressed enough by what’s gone into its production to give it a go.
Well, we bought one to try and here’s what we thought.
The mask arrived packaged in a slim Playa London branded cardboard wallet with a handy recap of the benefits on the reverse which includes an explanation of each of the features as well as a comparison table highlighting what the Playa mask has (FFP2/N95 respirator, Surgical Mask and Textile fabric masks) that other masks don’t.
When I opened the wallet I found a multi-language leaflet outlining the how to wear and washing instructions, as well as details on the rest of the Anti-Viral face mask range.
According to the leaflet, there are 3 additional variants as outlined below although I couldn’t see any reference to them on the website so perhaps they’re waiting in the wings ready for launch.
The mask itself was carefully wrapped in branded tissue paper – Playa London are passionate about the environment so refuse to use plastics – but the paper just added to the overall premium feel.
The mask is well made and definitely superior to the ones I’m used to wearing and the material, a mix of polyester and elastane, feels very soft to touch.
As we’re living in a Pandemic world, the first thing I did was wash it on a 40-degree wash although the recommended temperature is 60-degrees. It passed the first test with flying colours as it washed well and when it dried it looked just as good as when I first unwrapped it.
I always find it’s the small things that make a big difference so I have to commend Playa London on the subtle branding on the outside of the mask and the equally tasteful inside which has the mask’s benefits printed plus the washing instructions, just in case you forget! All in all, very classy.
The comfort factor
This has got to be the most comfortable face mask I’ve worn, and I’ve tried quite a few in an attempt to find The One. The first thing I noticed was that it fits very snug to the face with no gaping holes around the bridge of the nose or at the sides, and the non-adjustable elastic ear loops fit perfectly with no discomfort behind the ears. As the mask sits high on the nose bridge and extends below the chin it covered all the parts I wanted to cover.
One of the key benefits is the ergonomic design which means that whilst it covers a large part of the face it sits away from the nose and mouth so as I trudged the pavements I didn’t get the suffocating feeling I usually experience when wearing face masks. I put this down to the shape of the front part of the mask – which reminds me of a bird’s beak – as it sits away from the nose and mouth so breathing is a lot easier.
Whenever I wear a mask there is always a point when my face suddenly starts to feel really clammy and I had high hopes for the moisture control element of the Playa mask. Alas, whilst not as much as usual, I have still experienced that clammy feeling when wearing this mask too.
The lipstick factor
No one likes to return home to discover they’ve been transformed into The Joker courtesy of their face mask so I was particularly keen to see if the Playa mask lived up to its claim of no lipstick smudges. On this point, for me it did. The ergonomic design has ensured my lipstick has stayed in place each time I’ve worn it even though at times I can feel the material touching the sides of my lips.
The CBD effect
The inner layer of the mask is infused with 99.9% CBD and although I do feel a greater level of calmness when wearing it, do I genuinely believe it’s all down to the CBD? No, I don’t. The bigger factor for me is that the mask is so well designed so it provides a greater level of reassurance.
The CBD is also supposed to help lessen those annoying ‘mask face’ irritations eg. spots and I have to say that I did acquire two stubborn spots on each cheek for the first couple of weeks I wore the mask and now, although more sporadic, I do still get them. Ironically, I actually think the fact the mask fits so well could cause spots but I’m not an expert either way.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Playa London Anti-Viral CBD Face Mask. No, it didn’t tick all the boxes but for me, it ticked enough. It’s a very well made mask that gives me an added sense of protection each time I wear it and it’s also incredibly comfortable. I also like the fact that it’s non-toxic and bio-degradable – another nod to Playa’s environmental credentials.
In summary, we’d say that CBD infusion or not, if you’re looking for a superior Covid face mask you can’t go far wrong with this one.